Not everyone is ready to embrace a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, but more and more consumers want to incorporate plant-based fare into their diets, which is why “Plant-Powered Growth” is one of the Top 10 Trends that Innova Market Insights is highlighting in its Taste the Trend pavilion (booth 2645) at the food expo.
“It’s a huge trend that is absolutely here to stay,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Dairy and meat alternatives are absolutely mainstream now,” she continued, noting that nearly one in four U.S. consumers are opting for a meatless meal once a week or more often.
Food and beverage manufacturers have responded to consumer interest with a growing array of plant-based food and beverage launches. Globally, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for new product launches making a plant protein claim was 49% from 2012–2016, according to Innova Market Insights data.
In 2016, dairy alternative drinks accounted for 7% of global dairy product launches tracked by Innova Market Insights, up from 6% in 2015; globally, the number of dairy alternatives more than doubled over a five-year period.
“The dairy alternatives market has seen rising levels of interest in recent years, spurred mainly by consumers increasingly looking for lactose-free, dairy-free, and plant-based/vegan options as healthy lifestyle choices, rather than regarding them as simply for those with allergies or intolerances,” said Williams. “The category has been further boosted by the growing availability and promotion of plant-based options to traditional dairy lines, particularly beverages, but also cultured products such as yogurt, frozen desserts and ice cream, creamers, and cheese.”
The global CAGR for dairy alternative products between 2012 and 2106 was 20%, and for meat substitutes, it was 14%, Innova reports. In the U.S. marketplace, product launches that made vegetarian or vegan claims now account for 17% of all product launches versus 6% five years ago, according to Innova Market Insights data.
Plant-based products are making major inroads in the category of sports nutrition products, Williams reported, adding that dairy protein remains highly relevant, however. “Whey protein is still the standard for sports nutrition,” she said.
Active nutrition is another important theme that Innova Market Insights is highlighting this year, Williams said, because eating to help promote an active lifestyle is important to consumers at so many different life stages and consumers of all ages are seeking to increase their protein intake. The category of sports nutrition products continues to expand, moving well beyond protein powders and far past the era when sports nutrition was only for serious bodybuilders and there was little emphasis on taste. “We’re seeing a huge range of products,” she said. This includes everything from sports nutrition beverages to muscle butters to protein-fortified cake bites and pancake mixes.
A total of 30 infographics highlighting product and consumer trends are on display at the Innova Market Insights Taste the Trends pavilion. In addition, Innova experts will offer daily presentations on key trends. The schedule for each day is as follows: 11 a.m. – Active Nutrition; 1 p.m. – Top 10 Trends 2017; and 3 p.m. – Plant-Powered Growth.